Christmass Gifts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by desert rose gardening, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. desert rose gardening

    desert rose gardening LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    I was wondering what you guy's give to your customers for Christmass, if you even give them anything. I personley don't yet I send them a card and thats it. They give me about $500.00 every year and I would like to give it back to them in some way. "Easy come easy go" Im thinking about giving them a small plant or a gift cert to a nursery. Maybe not a plant I would have to plant it! like to hear some thought's on this.
     
  2. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    I also just send a card. But last year while at a big bookstore, I saw something I'm thinking of sending this year. Would appreciate others thoughts on this as well.
    I live in Bucks County, and it's a Bucks County calender, with photos of scenic areas and landmarks. I think it even had little interesting tidbits of info each month about the area.
    It's inexpensive, it's a gift that "keeps on giving" since it's around all year, it's something that's actually useful. Gives a little feeling of 'local pride'. It's not overly personal.

    I had thought of various foods, gift certificates, custom labeled bottles of wine, etc. But I don't really know what my customers likes or dislikes are, so I figured it needed to be something totally neutral.

    Have many of you seen a "local calender" like this in your area?
     
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    For several years, I used to buy my "better" clients gifts and drop them off, with a card, a few days before Christmas. By "better" I mean the clients who had spent more than say, $5,000 with our company that year.

    I am sure they were appreciated. But I eventually ran into a few problems. The first year I started doing bigger installation-type jobs where people would spend $5,000 or more with us, I only had about 10 such customers. So it wasn't too hard to get 10 really nice gifts. Sometimes it was a nice box of chocolate, other times, it was a very nice gift basket I found at from Costco.

    The problem came the next year when I had about 30 such customers. Now, the burden of buying 30 or more nice gifts like this really started to add up. And during the winter? The time of year when income is at it's lowest? It started to become a struggle. It was obvious that I couldn't continue this tradition. So the next year I tried a less expensive approach. I had small boxes of custom chocolate fudge with our business card encorporated into the presentation on the top of the box. It was a great idea. But by this time, there were dozens of customers on my "better clients" list. The financial impact was lessening but going around in the cold to dozens and dozens of houses was become daunting.

    In addition, I still felt like I was leaving out some of my regular customers. Sure, Ms. Smith hadn't spent $5,000 on us in 2002, but she had been with us for 4 years. She has surely spent more than $5,000 in those 4 years! Why doesn't she deserve a gift too?

    So finally I said, "To heck with it all. I am just sending out cards to everyone - that's all!" And that's what I've been doing ever since.

    Now, I send cards out to every customer who used us during the previous year. Doesn't matter if we only did a $92 irrigation repair for them and never saw them again - they still get a card.

    Of course, now I have to spend 2-3 nights every December hand writing my thank-you notes on 244 Christmas cards, purchasing 244 stamps, licking 244 envelopes, etc. But at least that's all I have to do. Anything more would just be too big a burden.

    p.s. If you do insist on rewarding your clients with a ""gift", why not use a gift certificate from your company? It does three things; 1) It saves you money. 2) It doesn't cost you anything unless they use your services and give you more work again 3) It gives them an incentive to come back next year and use you again. You can't get any of these 3 things with a normal gift.
     
  4. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    I used to do cards, but this year it's donations to charities in the name of the clients of my co.
     
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    1. Xmas cards to every customer...one time customers included
    2. Pointsettias to each year 'round customer..I get them at Lowes and deliver them by 12/5. THey are relatively inexpensive
    3. Dinner for 2 gift certificates to one of our nicer restaurants for a few property mgrs/business owners who spend big bucks with us each year.These guys never question price and give us a blank check to do whatever we think needs done on their properties all year. They are the backbone of our revenue stream and so this is pocket change given the sales dollars they generate year after year

    If we had 244 customers like you Jim, it would likely be only Xmas cards with a few dinner for 2 gift certificates to the big bucks accounts.
     
  6. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    Last year , we hand delivered 40 bottles of local Cabernet and Vidal Blanc wines with custom labels to our "premium" clients. I know the winery owner, and we get a great deal wholesale. Of course, everyone gets a card as ,and we send out a few Chanuka cards to our Jewish clients as well. Last year it was 146 cards, 40 bottles of wine, and a few large poinsettias for the hospital lobbies we take care of.

    Jim, get a Pitney Bowes postage meter!! It has been a great time saver this year, no more trips to the PO and standing in long lines.We print our custom messages on our envelopes with it as well. Meter and scale cost us about $ 25.00 a month, plus postage.You can even print labels for first class and priority shipments, too. www.pitneybowes.com
     
  7. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I send Christmas cards out to all that did business with me for that year. I will send a gift certificate for a restaurant to one client that is the owner of a real estate manangement firm and throws a lot of business my way.
     
  8. rookiemower

    rookiemower LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    last year i had about 15 customers so i bought them all a box of hersheys variety chocolate and a card
     
  9. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    hmmmm.....

    I was thinking about that with the card.

    I could call em "Green Backs", cool huh? Actually, kinda dorky.

    But really, give a good customer a $50 spot gift cert, that'll buy them what, less than a yard of mulch that is costing you $16, and it's spread in 15 min? And like you said Jim, it gives them incentive to call you back, and if they don't, you haven't spent a nickel.
     
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    I send cards, no gifts. That gets way too expensive, sets a precident, and honestly I believe that people mostly pay no attention to any of it.

    :D
     

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